The Crucible Act 1 Study Questions

Early in the play, Rev. Parris is greatly concerned with his “enemies,” whom he fears will use Betty’s mysterious illness against him. What does this show us about Parris? Would you say he’s a good father? Give evidence to support your answer. He is not a good father, because he cares about his reputation more than his daughter.
Why does Elizabeth Proctor only rarely come to church these days? She doesn’t want to go to church because Abigail goes to church.Abigail had an affair with John Proctor.
When Abigail relates her version of what happened in the forest, what lends credibility to her story? Does Parris believe her? Why is he interested if her name is “entirely white in the village”? She says Tituba sang Barbados songs, which she does do.However, Parris doesn’t believe her.Parris is interested because he doesn’t want his reputation to be ruined.
Abigail describes Elizabeth Proctor as “a lying, cold sniveling woman.” What’s ironic about this? It’s ironic because Abigail was the one having an affair and she is lying to everyone.
Ann Putnam says that her daughter, Ruth, has been acting strange this year. Describe Ruth’s behaviors. Ann Putnam says this is evidence of dark forces pulling on her child, whose age we’re not told but who is probably around 10 years old. What is a different, most more likely explanation for Ruth’s behaviors? Ruth has been keeping things to herself and hiding things.Puberty is a likely explanation.
When a Bible psalm is sung, Betty Parris wails. Ann Putnam concludes that this shows the child has been touched by the Devil. Explain why this is a logical fallacy. What is the actual case of Betty’s wailing? This is a logical fallacy because Ann is claiming that the psalm led to Betty wailing, which does not have enough evidence behind it.The real case may be because Abigail and John Proctor are talking about their affair and Betty doesn’t want to hear it.
Describe Mercy Lewis. Describe Mary Warren. What does Abigail threaten to do to the girls if they tell about the casting of spells in the woods? Why is Abigail so dark? Mercy is a servant for the Putnams; she is bad newsMary is a servant for the Proctors; she is shy and politeAbigail threatens to stab them.She’s dark because she saw her parents getting killed by Native Americans.
Rebecca Nurse is able to quickly calm Betty when others could not comfort the girl. There are two different ways (one good, one not) of viewing Nurse’s power here. Explain them both. Good: she can prevent Betty from killing herselfBad: she can be perceived as a witch
How many children and grandchildren does Rebecca Nurse have? How many does Ann Putnam have? Explain how people in Salem might view this as the hand of God working in the two women’s lives. Rebecca: 11 children 26 grandchildrenAnn: 1This is a blessing from God because children can grow up to care for their parents when they get old.
What reason does John Proctor give for his reluctance to regularly attend church? What is another likely reason he hasn’t been attending? He doesn’t like that Reverend Parris always talks about hell and Satan.He probably also doesn’t go because he had an affair with Abigail.
Mrs. Putnam says that there “are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!” Explain what she means. She is saying that beneath the surface, a lot of stuff is happening in the village.
In his opening remarks, how does Hale establish his authority? He carries a lot of books and says they are weighted with authority.
Explain how Tituba is in a no-win situation. How does Tituba defend herself? She has no rights because she is a slave, so if she confesses to making the charm she will be accused of witchcraft, but if she doesn’t confess to making the charm she will be whipped.However, since she confessed to being a witch and she shouted random names, she is safe.
Why, do you suppose, Tituba gives the names of Sarah Good and Goody Osborne? What does this move show us about Tituba? She knew that Goody Osborne was a midwife to Ann Putnam (who believes that Osborne killed her children) and that Sarah Good is of low status, so it was safer for her to accuse them.This shows that Tituba is smart.
How does Hale contribute to the emotional fever of the end of the act, when the girls begin naming individuals who were seen with the Devil? He says that God will bless them if they confess.

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